Cauliflower à l’Ancienne

“Mr Atlee is a very modest man,” said Churchill once of his political opponent in a parliamentary debate,  and paused before uttering “and he has every reason to be modest”.  This is how I feel about cauliflower.  Everyone gets so excited and raves about it and turns it into cus cus or rice and roasts it like meat and adds sauces and accoutrements and 101 spices and other veggies to turn it into a salad.  Which proves my point.  It’s hard to ‘do’ cauliflower without bolstering it with other helpful ingredients.  Cauliflower on its own is ‘modest’ in the Churchillian sense.

I had bought some cauliflower the other day with the intention of roasting it and serving it with an almond and anchovy sauce.  By the time I got around to preparing dinner last night, however, it was past half past eight and realised roasting was out of the question.  So I simmered the florets for a little bit and then cooked them à l’ancienne, i.e. the old fashioned way.  No fuss.

Butter and extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan, a pinch of paprika, slithers of garlic.  Salt and pepper.0

Cook the cauliflower over a fairly high heat.  Add a bit of white wine and let it evaporate its alcohol content.

1Switch off the heat and add some fresh tarragon.



3A modest effort with a not-so-modest result, huh?

September Blues and Consolatory Crepes

The weather changed yesterday.  It rained quite a lot very early this morning.

On the one hand we are glad that it has rained, this was very much a drought of a summer in most of Italy and here in Rome it hadn’t rained since May! Weirdly, I wouldn’t mind so much if it were raining in August but September is not the month for me.  Reminds of when I had to go back to school and of three very dear family members who all passed away in September.  There is that insidiuous feeling that the best part of the year is over (long days, warm weather, flights of fancy) and it’s pretty hard to imagine that the cold and Winter are something to look forward to, sigh.

Respite came from clever daughter who is staying with us: “Why don’t we make pancakes?” she asked. Why not indeed … Comfort food all year round ! Here is my tale of how to make the peerless pancake, you will forgive me if I revive a blog post I wrote a few years ago: